Car exhausts a target for crooks

You'd figure an auto parts store might be the target of auto parts theft. But in this case, crooks targeted two of the Summer Avenue NAPA store's delivery trucks.

"My first thought was something had punched a hole in the exhaust," says assistant manager Mark McCarty.

The problem was discovered when someone cranked up the trucks. There was a loud sound and then a surprising discovery.

"Ducked under it and the catalytic converter was just gone," says McCarty. "It was just two ends of pipe sawed off, big gap," he recalls.

McCarty figures the theft took less than a minute.

"They had to crawl under the truck, basically with something like a battery-powered reciprocating saw," McCarty figures.

Catalytic converters range in size. Thieves make a couple of cuts and rip it right out from underneath the car.

"You know, both ends, just gone," says McCarty.

There have been at least 20 reports of catalytic converter thefts in Memphis within the last two months.

"Residential areas, individual homes, car rental places, car lots, where cars are sold" says Major Coria Williams with Memphis Police.

Converters can cost hundreds, even thousands of dollars to replace. Police say they fetch 30 to 50 bucks on the street.

"Anything to make a fast buck," says Williams.

Mark McCarty just hopes his auto parts will remain on the shelves or under the trucks where they belong. Police do believe these converters are being sold for scrap. However, they do contain precious metals that can also be removed and sold. And you must have one to pass vehicle inspection in Memphis. That's another possible motive.